Maybe it is just human nature. Maybe we are hard-wired to come to the conclusion that when something has gone missing, it obviously has to have been stolen. Maybe it is a symptom of a society that seems to grow less and less private with each passing day. Maybe the student in question's belongings actually were stolen. No matter what the reason may be, however, it is almost a guarantee that the next statement from us will almost always be "have you checked the lost & found?" Now, I'm not going to deny that theft exists or tell you that there are not people in this world that do not evaluate their own moral compass before acting; however, the student in question usually finds what he/she has been looking for in the "lost & found."
So what does this have to do with music?...
Being a musician is all about habits. From the moment our beginning 6th graders first attempt to produce a sound, students in band are busy acquiring new skills by changing and adapting their habits to the needs of their instruments. They are adapting their listening habits to adjust to the unique circumstances of the ensemble and modifying their reading habits to comprehend the unique musical notation that they must learn to read. Students are also building habits that go much deeper than their musical skills. Students are learning to work collaboratively with others, learning to set a schedule to balance their practice time with their homework time with their recreational time, learning to take responsibility for their lesson schedule and attendance, and learning to use their available resources to troubleshoot their own problems when things don't go the way they expect.
I've had several students ask me "Why don't you just put my lost _______ away for me? You know my locker combination!" I really feel that doing so would be a disservice to our students. We teach so many essential life skills through music and almost none of them can be found in our curriculum...and they definitely do not belong there. Music does not exist to help our students organize their time-but through the study of music, our students DO learn just that. This is one of the core principals that the Sun Prairie Band Staff is truly committed to achieving. Learning a band instrument in Sun Prairie is really about learning to be successful in life.
Mr. Kading, one of the Sun Prairie High School band teachers, always tells his students, "my goal is to not be needed." As teachers, I think we all want to feel "un-needed." To feel that we have given our students the skills that they need to become independent learners. Of course, we will be there to catch, comfort, and reassure students when they fall-after all, we're all human. But there is no greater satisfaction for us than to see one of our students begin to connect the dots and to realize "maybe I can figure this out after all!"